Steve and I received sad news Saturday... We've been shaken and sad ever since.
Facebook, in my opinion, is a wonderful place. I was reluctant to join way back when because I was already on MySpace and I didn’t think I wanted to learn a whole new way of doing things. And why should I be on two social media sites that were relatively the same? But this was when my children were in high school and it became apparent to me that Facebook was the new "it" site. And if I wanted to keep tabs on my kids, to make sure they were behaving, Facebook was the place to be.
Of course Facebook has evolved into much more than a snooping tool for Moms. I became “friends” with long, lost buddies from my school days and eventually connected with my third cousin, Jeff Clark. We call him Nokomis because, well, because that is his middle name. And it's a unique name. How many people do you know named Nokomis? And it suits Jeff. He is a mess! A good-hearted mess. He, Steve and I share similar senses of humor and over the last few years have formed a sort of unspoken tag team, picking on other friends. In a good-natured way, of course.
I began noticing posts around Facebook from another friend of Jeff’s. Gregor Jackson. He, too, shared our goofy, off-color sense of humor. Our conservative political views. And I looked forward to the laughs Gregor provided in his posts.
Although we had never met Gregor personally, I sent him a friend request in 2010 and our friendship grew.
Steve and I learned that Gregor was married to a woman named Melanie, who was his life. He had a son and two daughters from a previous marriage that he loved and adored. Gregor was born and raised in England to his English father and Scottish mother and he took great pride in his Scottish heritage. He served two tours in Vietnam and later worked as a police officer. He enjoyed a good drink, laughter, and his dogs. He and Melanie were great rescue dog activists.
A photo I had posted of Steve’s “Kerry” tattoo came to Gregor’s attention. (http://kerry-mitchell.blogspot.com/2011/08/inked.html) He loved to give Steve a hard time about it, telling him he should get a "Gregor" tattoo next. And so...
Steve and I had taken a long weekend trip to Gatlinburg, TN and while roaming around town stumbled upon a young woman who did henna tattoos. Henna tattoos are temporary, lasting 6-8 weeks. Steve thought of the idea of getting “Gregor” and I supported the idea whole heartedly. I’m not sure which of us decided where the location should be, but that poor young woman!
Once back in town, I contacted Nokomis to be our partner in crime. He H-A-D to help us get Gregor to meet us for dinner the following Friday night for Mexican and music at one of our favorite haunts. And it all came together. I laughed all week, telling a few of my co-workers what was going to happen. My friend, Doris, who worked next door to me, and her husband Big Mo even joined us on the fun - having never met Nokomis OR Gregor.
It wasn’t long into the evening, after everyone arrived and we had our table, that Steve dropped trou (well, pulled his pants down to show off his hip a bit). Gregor’s reaction was hysterical! He was mortified but honored, stunned but full of laughter all at once. He was temporarily at a loss for words. Which we considered to be a HUGE success!
|Big Mo, Nokomis, and Gregor at the unveiling - July 23, 2010|
|After a few drinks and the shock had worn off.|
Gregor complained of a terrible headache on Facebook Friday night. Then Nokomis called Saturday afternoon to tell Steve and me that Gregor had passed away. We were stunned. We are stunned. Gregor was 69 years old.
We miss him. But we remember the laughter. And we are thankful for the brief friendship that we shared.
|Steve and Gregor|
|Kerry and Gregor - a hug between friends.|